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Epic Games Founder Tim Sweeney targets Apple over developer fees

Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, said Apple is holding up technological progress with the 30% cut it takes from developers off the top of App Store purchases. He also called out Google for a similar practice, saying that the fees hurt developers and don’t let them grow their businesses.

“This is a critical consideration in these 30 percent store fees,” he said on Twitter. “They come off the top, before funding any developer costs. As a result, Apple and Google make more profit from most developers’ games than the developers themselves. That is terribly unfair and exploitative.”

Sweeney said he was a fan of Apple, but he’s tired of how the company took advantage of its position as one of the largest in the world to hamstring developers to its way of doing business.

“It pains me to complain about Apple in this way,” he tweeted. “Apple is one of the greatest companies that has ever existed, perhaps the greatest. But they’re fundamentally wrong in blocking competition and choice on devices they make, and that holds up entire fields of technological progress.”

Sweeney shared a New York Times piece about Apple trying to collect commissions of virtual sales of classes from companies like Airbnb and ClassPass, a practice he called crazy.

“Apple has gone crazy. If colleges hold virtual classes through an iPhone app, Apple could demand 30% of the tuition. Truly, Apple has no right to take any percent of any company’s revenue just because they made the phone people use to access the stuff,” he tweeted.

Epic Games, which developed the ultra-popular battle royale shooter Fortnite, has a marketplace of its own, where it charges 12% from developers.

The company also took issue with Google when it launched Fortnite in the Google Play store. Sweeney asked for an exemption that would allow it to use Epic’s payment platform in the game and keep all the proceeds from in-app purchases, which didn’t happen.

Sweeney later said he wasn’t looking for a specific Epic exemption, but instead a “general change to smartphone industry practices” which would allow for developers to use third-party or their own payment services for in-app purchases. Eventually, Epic decided to accept a 30% charge.

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